Research and Evaluation Digest: Service for the Good of Public Health


Research and Evaluation Digest
Feb. 14, 2024

Service for the Good of Public Health

Public Health AmeriCorps Icons

Service for the Good of Public Health

For AmeriCorps, one of the biggest lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is how intricately health is woven into many facets of life. Health is not only a reflection of an individual, but a reflection of the places in which we live and work. The breadth and depth of the AmeriCorps Healthy Futures portfolio and AmeriCorps Public Health investments demonstrate the substantial public health challenges faced across the country and reflect the urgency to address these critical needs. Our collective work has served hundreds of thousands of people: in addressing the opioid crisis, delivering independent living services, supporting COVID-19 response, increasing food security, and so much more. Our Healthy Futures programs not only do good work, but they also make fiscal sense and generate a sustaining return on investment. I invite you to read about our successes and consider how we can move this work forward to build a healthier future.

In service,
Mary Hyde, Ph.D., Director,
Office of Research and Evaluation

Peer Coaching to Address Substance Use Disorders

AmeriCorps’ Office of Research and Evaluation has funded a bundled evaluation that comprises two cohorts of AmeriCorps-supported organizations using peer recovery coaching models. This bundled evaluation focuses on three overarching research objectives:

  1. to determine what the peer recovery coaching models look like;
  2. to describe promising practices and challenges in implementing peer recovery coaching models; and
  3. to measure the effectiveness of the peer recovery coaching model in improving outcomes for the organizations, peer recovery coaches, and program participants.

The evaluation also included a capacity building curriculum for participating AmeriCorps-supported organizations.

Preliminary findings suggest positive results regarding outcomes for organizations, peer recovery coaches, and program participants. Please see the Evidence Snapshot for more information on these preliminary findings. The final report will include analysis from an additional cohort and will be published in the summer.

Evidence Readiness Technical Assistance Corner

AmeriCorps supports the continuous learning and knowledge building of our grantees and sponsors by developing resources for use. The Evaluation Core Curriculum was recently updated and is available publicly for all grantees, sponsors, and partners.

New to the curriculum:

  • example evaluation plan component write ups; and
  • example evaluation plans for impact, process, and non-experimental evaluations, with annotations included to walk through the “what, why, and how” of each type of evaluation plan.

Check out courses covering basic steps in conducting evaluations, evaluation planning, evaluation implementation, evaluation analysis and reporting, and using evaluation findings for action and improvement. This year will see new courses and examples of evaluation reporting and data collection.

The 2023 State of the Evidence Spotlight: Healthy Futures

The 2023 State of the Evidence report reviewed six studies of AmeriCorps-funded programs and grantees supporting aging in place, obesity interventions and food access, as well as access to medical care. Explore the report to learn more about the evidence of impact across AmeriCorps focus on Healthy Futures.

Research Grantee Spotlight

University of Maine

This 2022 AmeriCorps Research Grantee will be building upon their 2017 work (Juggling Multiple Roles Older Adult Volunteer Study - UMaine Center on Aging - University of Maine) in their new grant. This study is based upon evidence that volunteering supports positive health, well-being, and increased socialization for older adults. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic increased health and isolation risks and are impacting traditional on-site volunteer placements. Virtual volunteer strategies quickly developed to fill the gap in volunteerism opportunities. This research explores the opportunities and challenges of virtual volunteering from volunteer and host program/site perspectives – as well as trends in virtual volunteering using a new measure introduced in the 2023 Current Population Survey Civic Engagement and Volunteering Supplement, which AmeriCorps conducts in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. This study will identify the range of benefits and configurations that make volunteering more accessible to older adult volunteers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn More

Register for the Webinar "Evidence Innovation: How AmeriCorps Investments are Addressing the Opioid Crisis"

Join us for a Healthy Futures Virtual Event. Webinar on How AmeriCorps Investments are Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Join us for a discussion of findings on AmeriCorps work in the health and substance use disorder fields, approaches for growing evidence-building innovations, and practices responding to localized community health capacity needs.

Thursday, Feb. 29, 3 p.m. ET


Celebrating Service and Its Evidence Story

The 2024 webinar series will celebrate AmeriCorps 30th Anniversary of harnessing the transformative value of evidence used to strengthen community-based organization practices, members and volunteers, local impact, and public trust. The series will highlight how AmeriCorps supports research, evidence and evaluation capacity building that strengthens the missions of local nonprofit organizations. This exploration of our capacity building efforts will tell the story of how it is a return in taxpayer dollars that bring savings to local, state, and national budgets and sparks our nation’s civic engagement.

Webinar Series Recordings Available

Delivering on Diversity and Equity with Data

This second webinar of our AmeriCorps' 30th Anniversary series highlighted how AmeriCorps delivers on diversity and equity with data.

AmeriCorps ROI Studies – Proof that the Cost of ‘Doing Good’ Benefits the Personal, Community and Federal Bottomline

The third webinar of the 30th Anniversary series highlighted AmeriCorps Return On Investment studies.

Evidence Exchange Highlights

Visit the Evidence Exchange